About a week and a half ago, the Times of Oman published an article which was about 'illegal' home businesses being the source of anger for some people here in Oman. The article carried the picture in the above shown screen shot, which has now been removed from the ToO website.
Now its obviously not going to take a rocket scientist to realise that people (predominantly expat wives) who are making and selling items from their homes are probably breaking the law here. Meaning, to work here, as an expat, you need to be employed and hold a visa and all the rest of it. It's a pretty pointless to defend these people who are operating a home business here in Oman because fundamentally it's illegal.
There are just a few things I was surprised at in that article, and here they are:
The cover picture to the story was of a 'local entrepreneur' decorating a lovely looking cake which features none other than HM - very patriotic. She is quoted as saying (quite rightly I also add) that it is illegal to operate a home-based business here that isn't licensed. She is then quoted to say, "there are no health and safety regulation, whereas we have to pay taxes. 12 per cent of our profits go to the Government."
And this is why I do agree with her, because these home bases businesses generally don't pay tax - I mean, if you're selling cakes for a living, you're probably not clearing more than RO 50 a month in profits, and even then only if you're super busy. Realistically, your're probably making less profit than that a month, what is the cost of policing this versus the tax revenues (or fines) potentially gained?
Moving back to the problem of people working "illegally" in home-based businesses - what happens at all of these car-boot sales and farmers markets when people sell their wares there? What about when people put things up for sale on OLX or other places (like the old Al Fair notice boards, or in The Week, or on Muscat buy and sell). My point is, people have been selling stuff directly to people outside of licensed businesses in Muscat for a long, long time.
Shouldn't there be some sort of legislation to govern this market?